Arizona Republican Hopeful Blake Masters Loses Senate Race to Dem Incumbent Mark Kelly

Following the release of a new batch of votes by Arizona’s Maricopa County on Friday night, it became clear that incumbent Democratic senator Mark Kelly had held off the challenge by Republican hopeful Blake Masters, multiple media outlets reported.

Masters failed to close the gap of roughly six percentage points, with a margin Friday night of 51.8 percent to 46.1 percent. Approximately 120,000 votes separated the two candidates, with nearly 2.2 million ballots cast.

Pollsters had projected the Arizona Senate race on Election Day to be a virtual dead heat.

Although Masters has trailed Kelly consistently in the vote tallying since Tuesday, media outlets have been hesitant to declare the incumbent the winner, given the large percentage of outstanding votes across the state.

Vote-counting woes have continued to plague Arizona since residents went to the ballot box Tuesday for the midterm elections. By Friday evening, less than 80 percent of the overall Senate votes had been counted and verified, according to the New York Times.

However, the newly released ballots have cleared up any uncertainty.

Masters was initially spurned by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and relied on his boss and close Trump ally, Peter Thiel, for financial backing and support. In recent weeks, Masters ratcheted up his denunciations of establishment conservatives such as McConnell, saying the senator would “not own me” and that he would operate more detached from strict party lines.

Masters ran a considerably less competitive race than Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who has narrowed the gap with her Democratic opponent, Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs. That race has yet to be called.

Hobbs made it a point to highlight Lake’s embrace of Trump’s stolen-election conspiracy and campaign under the “America First” banner. Fittingly, Lake reiterated election-integrity conspiracies Tuesday, implying that calculation issues in Maricopa County stemmed from partisan interference.

“Do you think this is normal, guys? My question is, do you think what’s happening here in Maricopa County is normal? We have had problems after problems. . . . I hope it’s not malice. But we’re gonna win. And when we win, there’s gonna be a come-to-Jesus for elections in Arizona,” Lake told reporters Tuesday.

An emergency lawsuit filed on behalf of the Republican National Committee (RNC) as well as Lake’s and Masters’s campaigns to keep Maricopa County polls open later because of scanner glitches was rejected Tuesday.

Masters’s loss will be a particularly personal one for former president Donald Trump, who endorsed him back in August.

Many Trump-backed candidates have fared poorly in battleground states. In recent days, Trump has criticized former allies and potential rivals ahead of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race.

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